Saturday, June 22

Detroit: Profligacy has consequences; we'll all pay for Detroit . . .

As most of us know, actions have consequences. The potentates of Detroit have ignored the inevitable consequences of their fiscal and moral profligacy for over forty years. Now the rest of us will pay the bill in one way another, whether through state and federal bailouts or through higher municipal and state borrowing costs. The architects of the disaster will pay no price, rather, most will collect lucrative pensions.

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s plan to suspend payments on $2 billion of Detroit’s debt threatens a basic tenet of the $3.7 trillion municipal market: that states and cities will raise taxes as high as needed to avoid default . . .

“It definitely sets a precedent, and there’s definitely going to be a penalty going forward for the city and the state,” said Dan Solender, director of munis at Lord Abbett & Co. in Jersey City, New Jersey. The company oversees $19.5 billion of local debt.

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